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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TOTUM, n.2 Also totim (Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Glendornie xxx.), tottim, tottum. [′totʌm]

1. A term of endearment for a small toddling child, a tot (Sc. 1825 Jam.; n.Sc., Per., Dmb., Lnk. 1972).Abd. a.1794 in W. Stenhouse Illustr. to Sc. Musical Museum (1853) 151:
Whene'er the totums cry for meat.
Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems (1877) 120:
As granny was watchin' the stirrin' bit tottum.
Ayr. 1834 Galt Liter. Life III. 76:
Moses Waft grew into a totum, as we call a running wean.
Edb. 1856 J. Ballantine Poems 147:
Wi' ae wee tottum sleepin' 'neath its mithers' ee.
Ags. 1878 D. M. Ogilvy Poems 127:
There's a croodlin' totum on's grannie's knee.
Lnl. 1910 J. White Eppie Gray 10:
Wee hairmless tottums free o' guile.
Sc. 1943 J. Bridie Mr Bolfry i.:
Telling stories to Colin and me when we were wee tottums.

2. Any diminutive neat person, animal or thing (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 195; n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Lnk., Dmf. 1972).Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 62:
I am no sae short as your totum of a taylor.
s.Sc. 1835 Wilson's Tales of the Borders I. 118:
“List! ye totum ye!” said she, “do ye say list?”

[From Tot, n.1, + -Um, suff., no doubt influenced by Totum, n.1]

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"Totum n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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